Probably one of the best things I could have done for XL-Images from a marketing standpoint was join different photog and model groups on The Book. It has allowed me to get my work out there to a greater number of people in even further reaching places than just the midwest and Texas. More importantly is it has enabled me to network with people that I probably would not have met otherwise.
One such group is the very first one I joined: Iowa Model and Photographer Coalition. It initially started as a group to help models and photogs meet and collaborate in Eastern Iowa. It somehow spread to central Iowa which I think probably now comprises a lot of the group's more active members. As with any group, I don't always get along with everyone in there. There are more than a few occasions where I have to follow the old adage "if you don't have anything nice to say..."; however, the good has outweighed the bad for the most part. I have had the opportunity to meet some pretty great folks as a result of that group.
Darby would be one of the good ones.
I first met her through when she posted an inquiry about a shoot she was looking to do. It was going to be a present for her then boyfriend. It may have even been then fiancee if I remember correctly. Anyway, it was interesting concept that I had always wanted to try but had never gotten a chance to. It was a great stroke of fortune that she was searching for a photog to do it. The problem was she was in Eastern Iowa. Nearly two hours away. Would she be up for traveling to Des Moines to work with a photographer she had never met? The answer was a resounding yes. Thanks in large part to my already existing portfolio that speaks for itself. Let me tell you...that portfolio has opened more doors than I would have imagined.
It's important to note that the shot you see here is not from the session in question. That particular session was a little more risque. Which in itself made it even more impressive that we were able to get that collaboration. If I didn't have a solid reputation there was no way Darby would have done such a shoot with a photog she's never met. Of course, she did still bring her mother along with her as an escort just to be safe and I was totally fine with that. I just made sure that mom knew she had to get in on one of the photos. It's just a matter of time before I score their family photos too. Still working on that one.
This capture actually took place during my last visit to Des Moines. And it almost didn't happen. I had a full schedule already as I headed into that weekend. I was checking my Instagram when I happened across a photo of Darby in one of the coolest Iowa State shirts I had seen. I don't know how I kept forgetting she was also a student there. In case you didn't know, anyone affiliated with ISU always has an in with me. And having worked with her on a shoot before was an added plus. Anyway, I knew with a booked calendar that I couldn't get her in. I let her know that we would definitely have to shoot with that shirt during one of my visits though to make sure I at least put that bug in her ear.
As with most of trips to Des Moines, there are always unexpected cancellations. Most of the time they are legitimate excuses. Sometimes they are either horribly awful or just flat out no-shows. I have come to expect these which is exactly why I make sure to have back-up plans. There are a few folks that I can contact on short notice and they can show up for a shoot. That's precisely what Darby did.
The looks with the Iowa State shirt that I was mentioning came out just as fantastic as I expected. However, it turned out that my favorites from that session were the ones from her wearing this sweater top. I'm thinking because the overall look was a much more casual presentation. It relayed quite the comfy vibe. I made sure to utilize one of my favorite light set ups to get the right amount of shadows to accentuate her features. Then I made sure to catch her mid-smile. As I've said time and time again, some of the best photos are captured when you get a person in between poses. Another case in point.